Increasing Regulations on "Fugitive" Methane Emissions
The use of produced gas as “instrument air” means that methane must be vented or flared after use. This practice is now under threat from new, stricter government regulations to reduce "fugitive methane" venting & flaring, such as new/pending regulations from the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), EPA, individual states, and Canadian regulators. This also means that oil & gas producers potentially face significant fines or other regulatory consequences for continuing to use methane for instrument air purposes.
Many producers are not aware that their use of natural gas as instrument air contributes to substantially to methane emissions. Those who do often greatly underestimate (as much as 10 X) the amount of gas that is consumed for this function.